Padres prospect Q&A: Travis Chick

Travis Chick came over in a trade that sent Ismael Valdez to the Florida Marlins. From the first time he picked up a ball to pitch for the Fort Wayne Wizards, he was money.

One of the toughest things was getting used to the catchers in the Padres' system. It isn't that they are bad receivers, but there is a learning period where they aren't exactly sure what sign to throw down until there is a rapport. Coming in midseason had to be an even bigger challenge when they did not get a chance to know each other during spring training.

Travis Chick: It is kind of mutual. He put down some signs that I wasn't comfortable with so I shook him off and then he threw some signs that I like. Basically it is up to me. They haven't told me anything otherwise. If I like what he is putting down, I am going to throw it.

It is hard to imagine after seeing him pitch in Fort Wayne this year but Chick actually began the year in the pen. Playing a bit of both is generally a challenge as the preparation for each is different.

Travis Chick: I think it helped me a little bit. I have always been a starter so in a way you may have taken it for granted. They started me out in the pen this year and our starters at Greensboro were terrible. Not that they were so bad, they were just getting roughed up every time out.

I was going to be the setup guy for our closer but since me and one other guy had experience starting and when our starters would go two, three innings, we would come in with an eight run deficit. They put me in for three or four innings every three days. That is why I was leading the team in innings at the all-star break with no starts – I think I had two starts.

Then I made a couple spot starts about halfway through the year and I did pretty well in both of those. Finally the start that pushed me into the rotation was in Asheville. I went six innings and gave up one hit that happened to be a home run. I have been starting ever since. Being in a reliever role really pushed me to want to get back into the rotation. That is where I want to be and I am going to work hard to stay in it.

Based upon his play with the Wizards, Chick won't have to worry about losing his spot in the rotation. Having that much success begs another question. Is he happy to be in the Midwest League at his age?

Travis Chick: Every guy wants to be higher than they are. Realistically I know that most of these guys are 22, 23. Being in this league at 20 is kind of an honor.

It is baseball wherever you go so you can't take it that these guys are 23 and I have to do this and this or these guys are 18 and I can let up here. Baseball is baseball and you have to do your job and throw strikes.

Now that Chick is in the offseason, he is likely playing a few rounds.

Travis Chick: Relax, 140 games is a lot of games. Any chance I get to kick back and relax I do. I do like to play a lot of golf though. I haven't really gotten to play a lot lately to give a good run on it. When I was playing a lot I would shoot anywhere from 75 to 85.

While many of us struggle to break 100 on the links, Chick is shooting just above par. And when the rest of us get on the hill it is to play slow-pitch fastball while Chick throws fire en route to the Major Leagues.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@Sandiegosports.net

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